Dean's Update - August 16, 2022

August 16, 2022
Dear Colleagues:

I hope you enjoyed a good summer. After two years of limited travel, I made up for lost time with visits to cities as far away as Athens, Greece (work) and Reykjavik, Iceland (vacation), and as near and familiar as Amarillo, Dallas, Houston, and Tulsa where I met alumni, friends, and donors of the Honors College.

Wherever the summer months took you, I hope you share my excitement to join students in returning to campus. Our students stand at the center of our university mission. They bring renewed energy and possibility to our academic community. They prompt us to employ both tried and true, as well as creative efforts to teach and mentor them soundly. Their insights, predicaments, and questions invite us to ponder what we know and how to give best expression to it. Our call is to educate all of them for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.

On that note, right here at the outset of the semester, let me express gratitude for the unmistakable dedication, expertise, and vital Christian faith you bring to our academic community. We exercise a shared stewardship over the Honors College, and when we each offer what can do uniquely and especially well, with esteem and gratitude for one another, we live up to an uncommon, special potential as a collegiate society. It’s a joy, for Christ’s sake, to lead and serve alongside you.

As we begin our new academic year, please give attention to the following events and news items.

  • Our annual Academic Open House is scheduled for this Friday, August 19, from 3-4:00 p.m. in Alexander Reading Room. Open House provides newly arrived Honors College students an opportunity to meet faculty and staff, receive encouragement, and find their bearings during these important early days of the semester. Let’s represent each of our academic programs with strength in numbers and grace in hospitality.
  • On Thursday, August 25 at 3:30 p.m., we will convene in Alexander Reading Room for a college-wide faculty and staff meeting to kick off the fall semester. The meeting will include introductions of new colleagues, special recognitions, updates, and discussion of priorities for the year ahead. While geared toward regular full-time faculty and staff, all who share in the work of the Honors College are welcome to attend.
  • Mark your calendars now for the Laura Blanche Jackson Lecture in World Issues, slated for Monday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Cashion 506 and featuring Hal Brands on the topic: “The Twilight Struggle: What History Can Teach Us About America’s Rivalries with China and Russia Today.” Hal is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University and the author of numerous books, including The Lessons of Tragedy, a meditation on Greek tragedy, contemporary history, and the prospects in our world for both violence and peace.
  • Plan also to attend the Drumwright Family Lecture on Tuesday, October 18 at 4:00 p.m. in Alexander Reading Room as we host alumna Jessica Hooten Wilson (Ph.D., 2009), Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Liberal Arts at Pepperdine University. Jessica is the author of five recent books addressing such writers as Willa Cather, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Sigrid Undset. Jessica’s splendidly misanthropic lecture title is “Something to Offend Everyone: The Tertium Quid in Walker Percy.”
  • In addition to Kristen Drahos, George Njung, and Darren Middleton, whose faculty appointments we celebrated last spring semester, I’m happy to share that this summer we landed Alejandro Castrillón (Ph.D., Notre Dame) as assistant professor of political science in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. Alejandro’s research interests encompass Latin American political thought, ancient political philosophy, and modern republicanism. Co-editor of Contemporary Far-Right Thinkers and the Future of Liberal Democracy (Routledge 2021), Alejandro is at work on a new book, Simón Bolivar and Modern Republicanism: The Seeds of Social Liberty. Welcome, Alejandro!
  • For the fiscal year that ended May 31, we achieved an Honors College fundraising record of $4.2 million during the current Give Light campaign. We’re off to a strong beginning this year, led by a gift of $1.4 million from the estate of Bob and Barbara Johnston. The Johnstons were BU undergraduates in the early ‘60s, with Bob graduating in ’62 and Barbara attending from ’61-63. Bob passed away in 2020; this June, Barbara joined him in the loving arms of the Lord who promises to “deliver [us] from the power of the grave.” As we celebrate their lives and pray for their beatitude in Christ, we also give thanks for their generosity in support of our capital project fundraising goals.

All the best,

Douglas V. Henry | Dean
Honors College | Baylor University | 254.710.7689